published Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services commissioner resigns amid scrutiny of deaths

Tennessee Department of Children's Services Commissioner Kate O'Day, right, speaks during budget hearings in Nashville.
Tennessee Department of Children's Services Commissioner Kate O'Day, right, speaks during budget hearings in Nashville.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has resigned amid scrutiny of how her agency was handling cases of children who died after investigations of abuse and neglect.

Gov. Bill Haslam announced in a news release Tuesday that Kate O’Day had decided to resign because of concerns that she had become the focus of attention rather than the children the agency is meant to serve.

The Republican governor last week defended O’Day’s leadership, even after the agency told a federal judge it couldn’t say with any certainty how many children died while in its custody.

DCS had been sued by The Tennessean, The Associated Press and 10 other news organizations to obtain case records of 150 children who died after the state launched abuse or neglect investigations.

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